Serie A

Five features of Serie A: Week 7

Serie A has a new look about it after Juventus lost their first points of the season, allowing Napoli to sit firmly at the top of the table.

AC Milan endured their second consecutive loss, mounting the pressure on coach Vincenzo Montella, while Roma, Inter and Lazio continued their winning ways.

Ahead of the international break, here are five features from the latest weekend of Serie A action.

Napoli take pole position

Following Juventus and Napoli’s record-breaking start to the new season, Italy’s top-flight has a sole leader. The Bianconeri’s 2-2 draw away to Atalanta allowed the Azzurri to march into the outright lead with another convincing victory; defeating Cagliari 3-0.

The Partenopei have not only kept their perfect win record intact but have scored 25 goals in their seven league matches; a higher goals-per-game ratio than any other club in Europe’s top five leagues.

Of course it’s still early days yet and Napoli face tough back-to-back matches against Roma and Inter when Serie A returns from the international break. However for the time being, there will no doubt be a noticeable spring in the step of Neapolitans across the globe.

La Dea dare to dream

Off the back of their fairy-tale 2016/17 season, many expected Atalanta to quietly fade back into the depths of Serie A’s mid-table; particularly when considering the array of talent lost over the off-season.

However La Dea are not yet ready to see an end to their miraculous run in spite of an incredibly difficult fixture-list to start the season. Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gomez has continued to lead the Nerazzurri from the front and was once again instrumental in their incredible come-back against Juventus.

Considering their two league losses came against Roma and Napoli in the season’s opening two rounds and that Atalanta are currently top of their Europe League group, Gian Piero Gasperini clearly still has plans for this team to continue marching forward.

Di Francesco defies the doubters

A sudden change of coaches, the retirement of Francesco Totti and the departures of both Mohamed Salah and Antonio Rudiger certainly provided many reasons for the Serie A community to doubt Roma’s ability to hold-on to a top three position this season.

However Eusebio Di Francesco has quietly gone about his work in the nation’s capital and already has the Giallorossi squad achieving consistent results. In fact I Lupi, with one game in hand, are actually two points better than where they stood at the same point last season.

With only one loss to their name (in a match they dominated for a large proportion) and following their 2-0 victory away to AC Milan, Di Francesco is showing that pundits may just have been too quick to right off his Roman outfit.

Brozovic braces for starting position

After spending large periods of the last two seasons watching from the sidelines, Marcelo Brozovic has provided two big reasons why he should be utilised more consistently by Luciano Spalletti at Inter.

The Croatian, who has fallen out of favour with past coaches in addition to many Nerazzurri fans, scored both goals in the club’s unconvincing 2-1 victory over the lowly Benevento. Heading in for the game’s opener, the 24-year-old then produced a stunning free-kick to complete his double.

Having started in only three matches this season, with both Borja Valero and Joao Mario seemingly preferred in the central attacking-midfield position, Brozovic has given plenty for Spalletti to consider; which might just be a good conundrum for the new Inter coach to have.

Torino’s brutal Belotti blow

As if squandering a two-goal lead in the final minutes of their 2-2 draw with Hellas Verona was not bad enough, their dynamic, young striker Andrea Belotti managed to pick up a knee injury which may have him sidelined for four weeks.

The Granata confirmed their Italian international forward had sustained damage to ligaments in his right knee which saw his immediate withdrawal from the Azzurri squad set to face Macedonia and Albania in their final World Cup qualifiers.

Sinisa Mihajlovic will now be left with a significant hole in his attack, making results against Roma and Fiorentina an even tougher task in the coming weeks.

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